In Brief

PewDiePie: YouTube star loses Disney deal after anti-Semitic video

Swedish comedian Felix Kjellberg claims 'Death to all Jews' footage was a joke to show 'how crazy the modern world is'

YouTube star PewDiePie has lost a lucrative partnership deal with Disney-owned Maker Studios after a Wall Street Journal investigation highlighted nine instances of anti-Semitism in his videos.

Examples cited by the paper include footage of a man dressed as Jesus saying: "Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong," and two men in India being crowdfunded to hold up a sign reading: "Death to all Jews."

The Swedish comedian, real name Felix Kjellberg, says the stunt was a demonstration of "how crazy the modern world is".

"I picked something that seemed absurd to me - that people on Fiverr [a freelance services marketplace] would say anything for five dollars," he wrote on Tumblr, adding that he "in no way" supports hateful ideologies.

Nevertheless, Maker Studios said it was pulling out of the partnership, which put Kjellberg at the head of his own online entertainment network, Revelmode.

"Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case and the resulting videos are inappropriate," a spokeswoman for Maker Studios said in a statement.

Kjellberg maintains the content was clearly intended as a joke. In a video that has since been deleted, he accused his critics of being unable to differentiate between "what is a joke and what is actually problematic", says The Verge.

A spokesman for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a US organisation that combats anti-Semitism, said even pretending to espouse pro-Nazi views to an audience of 53 million is not a harmless joke.

"Just putting it out there brings it more and more into the mainstream," Jonathan Vick told the WSJ.

For once, the ADL and neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer appear to be on the same page, The Guardian reports.

The extreme right news outlet wrote that "ultimately, it doesn't matter" if Kjellberg was serious or not: "The effect is the same; it normalises Nazism, and marginalises our enemies."

Kjellberg has amassed an enormous online following for his gaming videos and comedy skits.

His YouTube channel has 53 million subscribers and he reportedly makes $14m (£11.2m) a year in advertising revenue and commercial partnerships, such as the one with Disney.

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